The Well: History and benefits of oil pulling

Oil pulling, also known as "kavala" or "gundusha," is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing oil in the mouth for several minutes. The practice is believed to have originated in India over 3,000 years ago and has gained popularity in recent years as a natural way to improve oral health.

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, oil pulling helps to balance the doshas (biological energies) in the body, which in turn can improve oral and overall health. The practice is said to remove toxins and bacteria from the mouth, strengthen the teeth and gums, and freshen breath. Some people also claim that oil pulling can improve skin health, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system (Kumar, 2012).

While the benefits of oil pulling are largely anecdotal, there is some scientific evidence to support its effectiveness in improving oral health. A 2014 study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal found that oil pulling with sesame oil reduced plaque and gum inflammation in participants with gingivitis (Asokan, et al., 2014). A 2015 study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine also found that oil pulling with coconut oil was effective in reducing plaque and gingivitis (Chandrasekhar, et al., 2015).

It's important to note that oil pulling should not be used as a replacement for traditional dental hygiene practices such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. It is also not a substitute for regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

To try oil pulling, simply place a spoonful of oil (such as coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil) in your mouth and swish it around for 10-20 minutes. Spit the oil out into a trash bin (not the sink, as it can clog the pipes) and rinse your mouth with warm water. It's best to do oil pulling on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.

Oil pulling is a safe and natural way to improve oral health and freshen breath. While more research is needed to fully understand its potential health benefits, it can be a useful addition to a regular oral hygiene routine. 

Make sure you are choosing organic and unrefined oil for best benefits. 

Some of our favorite Ayurvedic Practitioners are Dr. Vara Yanamandra, and Sahara Rose check out her page for all the tips :)

If you want to incorporate our Ayurveda inspired Golden Milk head here!

Live well, 




Asokan, S., Rathan, J., Muthu, M. S., Rathna, P. V., & Emmadi, P. (2014). The effect of oil pulling on plaque and gingivitis. Nigerian Medical Journal, 55(2), 143-147.

Chandrasekhar, L., Shobha, K. J., & Sivapathasundaram, B. (2015). Effect of oil pulling on plaque and gingivitis. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 6(2), 96-98.

Kumar, P. (2012). Oil pulling therapy: An ancient practice for modern times. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 18(4), 199-202

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